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QPR boss in confident mood ahead of Spurs clash

QPR boss Mark Hughes would rather skip the pre-match handshakes. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport QPR boss Mark Hughes would rather skip the pre-match handshakes. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
3:53 PM

Hughes: Every game we have played, we have got better - that shows the quality we have

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Mark Hughes believes he is beginning to get the best from his newly-assembled QPR side after watching the Rs grind out a gritty goalless draw with Chelsea.

Saturday’s stalemate with last season’s Champions League winners provided QPR’s first clean sheet of the season, although they remain without a win from their first four Premier League games.

Twelve new signings over the summer have made for a disjointed start to the season, but ahead of Sunday’s visit to Tottenham, Hughes is confident the squad is beginning to come together.

“Every time we have played, taking away the Swansea game which I think none of us saw coming, we have got better with each game. We’re getting players back as the games come thick and fast, which will make us stronger,” said Hughes.

The Hoops boss was dealt a sizeable blow against the Blues however, as it emerged that striker Andrew Johnson will miss the majority of the rest of the season after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.

That leaves QPR with just two recognised centre-forwards in Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora, but Hughes insists that the attacking quality within his squad will account for Johnson’s absence.

And against Tottenham, Johnson’s injury could open the door for the likes of Adel Taarabt and summer signing Junior Hoilett, who were left out of the side against Chelsea.

“We had to hope that we didn’t get injuries, which unfortunately we did. [But] we have got a lot of quality and different types of attackers,” he added.

“Junior Hoilett and Adel Taarabt are arguably the two most talented technical players, but they didn’t even get on [against Chelsea].

“That shows the quality we have, which I am pleased about. It shows that we have the right quality to make sure we can compete.”

Midfielder Samba Diakite is also facing a race to be fit for the clash at White Hart Lane after an extended absence due to personal reasons, and Hughes added that varying fitness levels within the team have made it difficult to field a settled side.

“The problem we’re finding at the moment is that we’ve got a group with different levels of fitness, and until I can get everybody at the same level I’ve got to be a little bit careful with the amount of game time that they have,” said Hughes.

“We’re still trying to get to a point where everybody is at the same level. Then it’s easier to pick the best team on any Saturday.”

And the Rs boss is urging his side to reproduce the same level of performance against Andre Villas-Boas’s side as they did against Chelsea.

“They dug in [against Chelsea], even when it got really hard towards the end. It was a good performance by everybody.

“You have to be a strong character to play Premier League football,” he said. “You have to stand your corner and have an influence on the game. That will help us in the long term.”

Follow me on Twitter @QPRTimes

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